Life Goes on at April Valley

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AT the resettled community of April Valley on the outskirt of east Honiara, Junior Lonsdale is taking life simply, living one day at a time.

Lonsdale, a father of two, and his family were amongst those the Government resettled there following the 2014 devastating flash flood that swept away homes along the banks of Mataniko river, and killing 20 people.

“The April Valley community is organising and building itself up,” Lonsdale told Environment Media Solomon Islands last Thursday.

“But life is not easy as you canl see,” he added, waving his hands as he gazes at the neighbouring houses.

While a few families have started working on their permanent homes, most are still living in makeshift huts.

Families here used to live on the banks of Mataniko river at Koa Hill.

After their homes were destroyed and were told to move away from the area, the Government identified April Valley and settled the affected families there.

But it was just the land that the government gave them.

Each family has to build their own home and fend for themselves.

“It was not easy from the start,” who is originally from Gela, said.

“However, we have since moved on and rebuilding our lives,” he added.

Initially, the community was confronted with a lot of challenges.

“Teenage drinking, drugs, social disorder, fighting and stealing were some of the daily occurrences we came across when we first settled here,” Lonsdale said.

But he said he’s now happy life is improving in the community.

“Our youths have stopped their anti-social behaviour and are now participating in family, community and church activities.

‘’Life has changed and is changing since we moved here.

“You can see boys helping their moms or dads doing the gardening, building their houses, cooking the food, often attending community’s organised church and social activities.

“Things are getting better for the community.”

Most families there are not engaged in formal employment so they till the land and engaged in other small incoming generating avenues to make ends meet.

“Gardening and marketing are our everyday chore,” Lonsdale, 31, a builder, said.

While they don’t expect much from the Government, Lonsdale said they look forward to welcome their new water supply once the Solomon Islands water authority (SIWA) connects them to their main pipe this year.

Laying of pipes and installation of tab water is currently progressing.

Environment Media Solomon Islands understands upgrade of access road and electricity are next government projects to the community.

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Lynda Wate
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